“Oh, just look at her, she most probably thinks she’s better than everyone else.”
People often might think or say this about me, but the truth is that I don’t.
I don’t think “I’m better than everyone else.”
I just don’t talk a lot and I don’t often engage in conversations.
And that’s not because I think I’m smarter and better than the rest or because I think they’re not worth my attention, but because I think I’m not worth theirs.
Yes, I think I’m not good enough so that someone would talk to me.
It’s this awful monster called anxiety that has made me like this. Anxiety has meddled with my social life. It has made me look like a total as*hole.
It has made me fear to start conversations with other people, including the people I know. It’s made me fear to text my friends because I worry I might say something silly or wrong and embarrass myself. I worry they’ll think I’m boring or nosy.
That’s why it takes me forever to write a simple, short message. That’s why I analyze every single word that comes out of my mouth or that I write in my messages. That’s why I often delete my messages and don’t text my friends back and answer their calls.
That’s why others think I’m an insensitive, self-absorbed, arrogant person. That’s why they think I don’t care.
But I do. I care even more than they think.
I know, sometimes I look aloof and unfriendly since I find it difficult to talk and smile at others. But it’s not my intention to appear that way. It’s not my intention to look like a snob. The truth is that I am just trying to survive.
You’re wondering why?
Well, that’s because conversations and eye contact make my heart beat like crazy, my hands sweat, and my cheeks blush.
That’s the reason why I always avoid looking people in the eye when they are talking to me. I tend to look at their hair or somewhere behind them. Or I pay attention to the way they move their lips rather than their words.
I sometimes even scroll down messages on my phone so as to avoid meeting their eye.
And this makes me rude – I’m aware of that. This makes me look like I don’t care about what they have to say and like I am just sitting there while my mind is wandering off who knows where. But you know what?
I do care and I pay attention to every word that comes out of their mouth.
And I know, too, that people think I’m silently judging them when they’re talking to me. But I am not. I am just amazed at how easy it is for them to communicate, laugh, and be positive. I’m amazed at how easy it is for them to share their opinions and problems with others.
I’m amazed at how easy it is for them to make friendships.
And the sad thing is that they don’t know the real reason behind my behavior. They don’t know I have anxiety.
They think I’m a quiet person. Timid.
They don’t know that I’m struggling with this monster because I’m not having panic attacks, hoarding, or repeating specific behaviors.
They don’t know I suffer from anxiety because I’ve learned how to control the physical symptoms. Because I try hard to prevent people from noticing my condition in every way possible.
When I go to parties or meetings, I try to stay calm and relaxed as much as possible. However, just because I manage to stay calm or not to shake or sweat, it doesn’t mean that I have calmed my anxious thoughts. They’re always running in my mind, consuming my energy.
I’m always struggling with anxious thoughts, I’m just hiding it. I still worry about the way I look like. I still freak out over how to start a conversation and express how I feel. I still create thousands of scenarios about the reasons why some woman or guy across the street looked at me strangely.
Yes, I look fine, but I’m not. My anxiety prevents me from being okay. It prevents me from grasping wonderful opportunities. It keeps me at home. It ruins my social life. It drains all my positive energy.
My anxiety makes me doubt everyone around me, including myself. It makes me question every step I make.
It makes me look like an as*hole, but the truth is that the only as*hole here is my anxiety.
And all that I want is others to know that there’s more to me than my mental condition. There’s more to me than my silence.
My anxiety is not who I am.
Riley Cooper is a professional writer who writes informative and creative articles on topics related to various fields of study. Written with love and enthusiasm, her articles inspire readers to broaden their knowledge of the world, think and get ready to act.